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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  April 5, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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pronounce them. >> so impressive. >> thank you for joining us at 5:00. we have nightly news up next. tonight, shock waves, new images of children caught in the horrific attack in syria. president trump calling it an afront to humanity. time has run out for north korea. shake-up, top trump aide steve bannon suddenly removed from a powerful seat at the table as president trump without any evidence says susan rice may have committed a crime. o'reilly revolt. more advertisers bail as bill o'reilly gains a powerful defender. tornado emergency, homes demolished as severe storms rumble
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across the south. alerts tonight for millions. >> amazon refunds, $70 million coming to customers. who is getting money back? and from center field to center stage, a beloved baseball slugger inspiring america. "nightly news" begins right now. from los angeles, good evening to our viewers here in the west. two infamous dictators and both in the cross hairs of president trump tonight raising the potential of military responses after acts that are drawing broad concern and condemnation. the first, syria's leader assad. president trump horrified by the deadly gas attack on civilians saying it crosses many lines and offering the vailed warning there may be a new u.s. approach to syria. the president trumping up heat on north korea's leader kim jong-un. ahead of a critical meeting tomorrow. as we showed you during the broadcast from south korea this
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week, america armed forces are at a height of readiness with kim's recent threats. we have two reports starting with the syrian crisis and nbc's richard engel. >> reporter: a day after an alleged chemical attack by assad's regime, the victims are still struggling to breathe. quivering uncontrollably. doctors say it's consistent with exposure to a nerve agent like sarin gas. president trump said the images of the victims made a deep impression on him. >> a chemical attack that was so horrific in syria against innocent people including women, small children, and even beautiful little babies, their deaths was an affront to humanity. these heinous actions by the assad regime cannot be tolerated. >> reporter: it's a big reversal. just two days ago the administration
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seemed willing to accommodate assad. >> my attitude toward syria and assad changed very much. >> reporter: and after blaming former president obama for not taking action after drawing a red line on chemical weapons, today that changed too. >> i now have responsibility and i will have that responsibility and carry it very proudly. >> reporter: but confronting assad means challenging his biggest backer, russia. which offered today a very different explanation for the victims, saying assad's troops bombed a terrorist's chemical weapons depot. but video obtained by nbc news of what witnesses say is the impact site shows a crater in an open road, no depot nearby. at the u.n. security counsel ambassador nikki haley made an emotional address. >> look at those pictures. how many more children have to die before
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russia cares? >> reporter: so will the president respond with military action? he left open that possibility. >> i'm not saying i'm doing anything one way or the other. >> reporter: but there are risks like syrian air defenses and possible russian resistance. president trump, who came to office with a promise of america first now seems like he wants to be more involved in world affairs. he's been called an isolationist, he didn't sound like one today. lester? >> richard engel in the london newsroom, thank you. the global crisis the president addressed. north korea firing yet another ballistic missile into the sea of japan. containing kim jong un's program will be front and center as president trump welcomes the president of china at a high-stakes summit at his florida estate. peter alexander has details. >> i will do whatever i have to do. >> reporter: tonight president trump in a showdown with north korea and its erratic dictator, kim jong-un. >> we have a big problem.
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we have somebody that is not doing the right thing, and that's going to be my responsibility. >> reporter: that responsibility heightened by another north korean missile test just 24 hours ago with a senior white house official telling nbc news all options are on the table. but dealing with the rogue nation's growing nuclear threat also falls on china. the president this week warning if the chinese decide to help, that will be very good for china and if they don't, it won't be good for anyone. >> china is the only country in the world that has predominant material influence on north korea in trade, energy, and in coal. if china pulls the plug, north korea has no other option. >> reporter: the urgent issue certain to dominant tomorrow's high-stakes summit with china's president the first face to face meeting with competing agendas. >> this is a time when the united states actually defines its relationship with beijing, maybe not only for coming decades but for longer than that.
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>> reporter: one tool the president is likely to lean into with china, trade, punctuating a huge campaign using beijing as a punching bag. >> we can't allow china to rape the country. >> reporter: president trump saying they are manipulating currency. the historic meeting after renewed scrutiny of mr. trump's personal ties to china including a chinese government owned bank a tenant in trump tower, and another lender on a nearly billion dollar trump mortgage. the president denies any conflicts of interest because his sons now run the family business. tonight, there are also questions about ivanka trump's signature line, much of it still made in china with dozens of shipments arriving since the election, three in just the last month. for her part, ms. trump says she's no longer involved with her company. it's in a trust run by her brother-in-law and sister-in-law, lester? >> peter alexander, at the white house, thanks. to the sudden power shift at the national security council.
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the president's top aid steve bannon is losing his seat at the table weeks after his appointment to that posion sparked surprise and criticism as president trump kicked up dust of his own without any evidence saying susan rice may have committed a crime. nbc's hallie jackson has it all covered. >> thank you very much. >> reporter: the president's inner circle today in a single file line with the notable exception. chief strategist steve bannon, who's been at every other press conference so far. a source familiar says bannon was working on health care but the no show came hours after he was ousted from the national security council. >> steve bannon raised eyebrows at first because you don't put political people on a national security committee. it's too soon to tell if he's losing influence. but he's clearly been diminished. >> reporter: the vice president insisting it's not a demotion. >> this is just a natural evolution to ensure the national security counsel is organized in a way that best serves the president. >> reporter: the move, winning bipartisan support. >> i'd be very pleased
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that he's not on the national security council. my hope is that he would have no role in government at all. >> reporter: that's not happening. while bannon is not on the nsc anymore, he can attend meetings and has one of the highest security clearances in the west wing. a top white house official says bannon was originally put on the committee as a check against michael flynn, the now dismissed national security adviser. bannon's goal originally, to break down the obama era structure inside that national security team, led at the time by susan rice. she's in the president's cross hairs now as he accuses rice with no evidence of committing a crime by requesting the names of people connected by the trump team be unmasked. >> there is simply nothing wrong, unexpected, illegal about doing that. what would be wrong and illegal is if she took that name and then, you know, e-mailed it to the press. >> i leaked nothing to nobody. >> reporter: the president, yet again, making an
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unsubstantiated surveillance claim telling "the new york times" it's quote one of the big stories of our time. president trump says he will explain his claim at the right time. susan rice declined to comment on what her spokesperson is calling a ludicrous charge. lester? >> hallie jackson, thank you. tonight there are tornado warnings firing up across the south. homes demolished as storms continue to threaten millions of americans. in a moment al roker will be here, but first, from kerry sanders on the ground in the storm zone. >> reporter: a suspected tornado today in westin, georgia, twisted metal scattered across fields, this home collapsed. wind ripping these buildings apart. no serious injuries reported but high anxiety. >> we gathered down here, it was really bad because the top on the whole house started peeling off. we knew it was a very serious storm. >> reporter: another
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possible tornado this afternoon in henry county, alabama. >> all of a sudden it got really, really calm and the trees started spinning and the rain started pouring. >> reporter: across the south today, damaging hail, lightning strikes igniting several house fires. and wide spread flooding. several feet deep on these streets in columbia, south carolina. in some areas more than two inches of rain an hour. in augusta, georgia, weather suspending par three play at the masters golf tournament for the first time in 53 years. travel across the country impacted with more than 500 flights out of atlanta cancelled. >> a large extremely dangerous and potentially deadly tornado. >> reporter: in total, at least 61 million people under threat today and into the evening. it's all part of the same weather system that produced this tornado in tiny goodman, missouri on tuesday. today, they are starting to clean up while the region braces for another dangerous night. tonight, as we look
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live here in rural georgia, those inside here when the tornado hit say they are just happy to have escaped what were some heart-pounding moments adding in today's tornados, it's been a busy season so far, more than 350 twisters this year. lester? >> okay. kerry sanders, thanks. al roker is tracking the storms for us. where is the danger moving forward? >> lester, the southeast. we're watching this right now. 20 million people under a tornado watch and currently not just a major risk but a high risk. the greatest threat for storms and tornados down through central and southern georgia into central south carolina. as this moves east, these tornados could be rain wrapped. it will be dark. you won't be able to see them. that will be the danger. the strong storms move into the northeast, mid-atlantic states and new england, bringing with it heavy flooding. in fact, we're talking about 47 million under a flood threat this evening on into tomorrow. lester? >> al roker, thanks,
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al. now to the growing backlash against fox news star bill o'reilly. nearly three dozen advertisers have now abandoned o'reilly's show after the network paid out millions to settle sexual harassment claims against him. today, president trump himself came to o'reilly's defense. anne thompson has more. >> and the o'reilly factor begins now. >> reporter: as advertisers continue to flee, 35 and counting tonight, accusations the fox news star actually harassed female colleagues. coming to his side, president donald trump. in an interview with "the new york times", trump called o'reilly a good person. o'reilly and fox news settled claims from five women for $13 million according to the times but trump said, i think he shouldn't have settled adding i don't think bill did anything wrong. that defense of
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o'reilly who trump knows well infuriated attorney lisa bloom. >> i've been flooded by calls from fox news women all week. >> reporter: now representing wendy walsh, a former fox contributor who claims o'reilly harassed her. >> i simply said, i'm sorry, i can't do that. >> reporter: trump has been accused of unwanted sexual misconduct in the past and denied it. his comments to an actress during his "access hollywood" taping almost derailed his presidential campaign. trump apologized but no new words from o'reilly. a statement earlier this week his fame made him vulnerable to lawsuits and he settled to protect his children. a controversy in the headlines during april, what the president has proclaimed as national sexual assault and prevention month. anne thompson, nbc news, new york. still ahead tonight, amazon shoppers, listen up, why the online shopping giant is refunding $70 million to parents and how you might be able to get your share of it. also, bubbling controversy, how pepsi is responding to the backlash over the latest advertisement.
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we're back now with a consumer alert. tens of thousands of americans are about to get refunds from amazon. it comes after a long legal battle over young children racking up purchases on their parents' amazon accounts, parents unaware it was happening. nbc's tom costello has details on the settlement. >> reporter: it's a pretty simple concept, a 4-year-old can't consent to charge a parents' credit card but young children
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were playing popular kids' games on amazon's kin del, including ice age story and tap zoo and more. suddenly, up popped an option for the child to buy more virtual pets, more gold coins or stars but for real money. anywhere from 99 cents to $99. the kids, of course, quickly agreed. >> so we allege that parents were being hit with these charges, many of which were large-dollar charges and large numbers of consumers complained. >> i was pretty astonished. i was quite ill to my stomach. >> reporter: julie panicked after then 8-year-old hanna spent $10,000 buying virtual food for a virtual pet online. putting the family trip to yellowstone in jeopardy. >> we thought we were going to have to change our vacation plans or cancel our vacation plans that we had worked on for months and months of planning. >> reporter: thankfully, amazon refunded the $10,000. now it's reaching out to tens of thousands of customers refunding $70 million back to their credit cards.
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it's also requiring passwords for purchases made in kids' games and encouraging parents to go to the app store then go into settings and in-app purchases and set passwords or pin codes. the takeaway, paying customers do have to consent before their credit card is charged. tom costello, nbc news, washington. we're back in a moment with a fighter jet going down in flames. the pilot forced to make a split-second decision. >> oh my god. thank god he's okay.
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a scare in the skies over maryland today as a fighter jet went down just a few miles from the u.s. capitol. the pilot on an air national guard training mission ejected safely but was injured. parachuting to the ground as the f-16 crashed into a wooded area southwest of joint base andrews. those injuries we're told thankfully were
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not life-threatening. to the soda ad sparking a big backlash on social media. pepsi has now pulled the commercials featuring a reality tv star after critics claimed it was in bad taste and trivialized the black lives matter movement. nbc's gabe gutierrez explains. >> reporter: tonight pepsi is in damage control after being accused of exploding racial protests to sell soda. the two and a half minute ad released tuesday on youtube, features model and reality tv star kendall jenner happily joining a group of young protesters. it never specifically references the black lives matter movement but many critics noted the stark contrast between the image of jenner handing a soft drink to an officer and pictures like this one of riot police detaining a woman in baton rouge last summer. >> this ad trivializes the urgency of the issues and it diminishes the seriousness and the gravity of why we got
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into the situation in the first place. >> reporter: on social media, the video quickly drew anger and ridicule. martin luther king junior's daughter bernice tweeted if only her father had known about the power of pepsi. >> i've never seen this ad get negative response so quickly and i think it will make pepsi re-evaluate what they're doing with their brand quickly. >> reporter: today pepsi yanked the ad showing a global message of unity, peace and understanding, clearly, we missed the mark and we apologize. ♪ decades ago, this iconic coke commercial during the flower power movement struck the right tone at the right time. as pepsi found out, times have changed. gabe gutierrez, nbc news, miami. when we come back here tonight, the baseball super star using his life's other passion to connect with kids. inspiring america is next. ne. aic asus ty'rtang fit bk i=
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finally tonight with baseball season in full swing a story about a man of many talents, not only does he have four world series championships to his name, he's also
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a latin grammy nominated recording artist. and now he's using his love of music to go to bat for schoolkids. nbc's rehema ellis has more in our inspiring america report. >> hey, kids. >> reporter: he's best known as a champion baseball player but these kids are cheering for the other side of bernie williams. ♪ >> reporter: what came first? your love of baseball or your love of music? >> they both came around the same time in my life. >> reporter: the former new york yankee and latin grammy nominated guitarist grew up playing baseball and attending a performing arts school. he's now joined another team called turn around arts, that gives students something his mother made sure he had. >> she said, well, you have to be a well-rounded individual. in order for you to do that, you need to be exposed to arts, music, and sports. >> reporter: funded through a grant from the kennedy center, the program allows schools to mix the
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arts into all academic subjects, acting out scenes in science. or drawing and history. and it's working. in 68 schools nationwide, with turnaround arts programs, math scores are up by more than 2 22%, reading by more than 12%. >> when you bring the arts into school, schools go from grey of color, parents become more engaged and attendance starts to go up. ♪ >> reporter: this year, joshua went from chronically tardy to honor roll. >> you have to be good to be in band or you are not going to be allowed to come down and practice. >> reporter: a lot of them will have talent to become musicians and artists but the ones that don't got experience to lead them into whatever they decide to do. >> reporter: from center field to classroom, now hitting home runs with kids. rehema ellis, nbc news, bridgeport, connecticut. that's going to do it for us on a wednesday night. i'm lester holt.
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for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. rit n at: clnerodyas d eughru=0 . i think everybody has had enough. >> right now, at 6:00, cleaning up in a danger zone in the bay area's largest city. we have the exclusive story. the news at 6:00 starts right now. good evening. thanks for joining us. i'm janelle wang. >> and i'm raj mathai. an unusual tactic used to crack down in a hot spot for crime. san jose p.d. has opened an office right in the hot zone. nbc bay area damon trujillo has the story.
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>> reporter: we're talking about fountain alley here in downtown san jose and looking at the police stats posted by san jose police, there have been 60 calls for service in this area alone in the last 30 days. there are police officers on the corner ever fountain alalley, ad between first and second. police are moving in right here for good. you name the drug, and you'll likely find it here on fountain alley. crime happens here virtually daily. >> we see crimes, drug dealing, prostitution here and there. >> reporter: the city fish market says the crime has affected business. police have known about this aalley for years, they'll make arrests, but that hasn't stopped the problem. >> how is crime here? >> ver

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